The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities is a left of center Washington based think tank. On Monday they published the following chart.
Note the title. During the recession participation in what was once called the Food Stamp program (now called SNAP) the number of recipients (in the odd language of Washington when you receive your money back from Social Security you are a "beneficiary" - even though the return on capital is downright horrible; but when you receive SNAP assistance you are a participant) grew from just under 30 million (or about 10% of the population) to just under 50 million - or a bit fewer than one in six) and even though we are on a path to recovery - participation levels have been steady. Question - if participation levels rose "because of the recession" and the recession is ending - shouldn't participation levels begin to drop? Second question - was the slope of the increase in the number of recipients the result of increased need or increased recruitment?
Here is a key difference between the CBPP and most people. The CBPP defines successful policy from Washington by how many people receive benefits; most people would define successful policy by how many people do not need assistance from Washington. CBPP seems to have forgotten what Margaret Thatcher said about socialism - "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money."